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Open-air venue planned on site of Shakespearean theatre remains

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An amphitheatre is being planned in north London on the site where a 16th century theatre that hosted the premiere of Henry V used to exist.

The remains of the Curtain Theatre – which was the base for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men before they moved to the Globe on Bankside – were discovered last year during an archaeological dig.

Following this revelation, the site’s developer now wants to build a 250-seat open-air theatre with an accompanying underground museum and exhibition space.

There are plans for the performance space to be used as part of education programmes with schools. The developer is also in talks with Shakespeare’s Globe to collaborate on creating a programme for the space.

Meanwhile, a glass wall positioned at the back of the amphitheatre’s stage will enclose the underground display area for the original remnants of the Curtain Theatre.

Architect Pringle Brandon Perkins and Will has been consulting with the Museum of London, which carried out the initial excavations, and says it hopes to permanently display theatre remains from other Elizabethan venues too, such as those from the Rose Theatre, Bankside.

The whole site, which is called The Stage, will include a block of flats, offices, retail space, restaurants and a car park and is expected to cost around £250 million.

Site owner Plough Yard Developments has submitted a planning application to Hackney Council and a decision is expected by the summer of this year.

John Drew, principal at architect firm Pringle Brandon Perkins and Will, said: “It would be great if the performance space was used for all sorts of purposes, such as music as well as theatre.

“The public space around the theatre will have bars and restaurants and there are lots of offices in the area with people that need somewhere to go at lunch time. It would be great if there was entertainment for people to see during their lunch breaks.”

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